Last week, a potential client phoned me about writing some content for the website. They had been concerned that they hadn’t been receiving the traffic they wanted, so their website person told them that they probably needed new content optimized for keywords. I told them to email me the details, and that I’d take a look.

Needless to say, that I was shocked to see what I saw. In the sample page they wanted me to write, they wanted me to stuff it with keyword phrases: 5 instances of one phrase, 3 repetitions of two phrases each, 2 repetitions of another phrases, and 1 instance each of two phrases that were pretty much the same phrases. Remember, this was for a single page.

I politely declined the project, explaining that I prefer writing copy that flows naturally and that I find keyword stuffing too awkward to write.

There are 2 reasons why I avoid keyword stuffing:

It’s unnatural

I already mentioned this above, but keyword stuffing results in copy that is awkward, at best, to read. Awkward copy interferes with reader comprehension, which slows the reader down. It also sounds desperate, leaving a taste of unprofessionalism in the mouths of your potential customers.

Instead, write copy that flows naturally. This keeps your readers engaged, which tells them that you value their time.

Heck, I’d suggest skipping keywords altogether.

It’ll ruin your search rankings

The second reason I avoid keyword stuffing is that it may lead to your site losing rankings in Google’s search results. On the surface, keyword stuffing resulting in lower search ranking doesn’t make sense. However, Google penalizes websites that use keyword stuffing:

Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking. Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.

For more information on the pitfalls of keyword stuffing, check out these 7 posts from other experts:

About Kim Siever

I am a copywriter and copyeditor. I blog on writing tips mostly, but I sometimes throw in my thoughts about running a small business. Follow me on Twitter at @hotpepper.

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